Posts Tagged ‘cars’

My court date

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, stories,Tags: , , , , , , ,
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Back in November, I got a ticket at IAD when I was picking up my parents. I felt it was completely unfair and the officer was very rude, so even though it was only $40, I decided to contest it. Part of it was also a curiosity of that whole process. I called in about three weeks after receiving the ticket, when I was sure that I wanted to go forward with contesting my citation. The gentleman let me know the next available slot was more than a month out from that point – Feb 3rd at 1:30. Apparently in VA, officers have a certain slot where they handle all their cases from the previous weeks and for my officer, that was his next time. I booked it and was told I’d receive some more information at home.

loudoun county sheriff's car parked outside in dark

I meant to get a picture of what went down in our foyer, but in the excitement I forgot, so I got their vehicle before it drove off.

Weeks went by. I worked, took time off for the holidays, returned to work, and went on with life as usual. Then one night I got a message from Panda that sounded totally ominous. Officers had stopped by and needed to talk to me! This totally threw me off. What officers? Why did they need to talk to me? Panda just said they’d be back later that night, so I needed to get home around 7. Apparently they needed to issue me a ticket for running a stop sign or something? No such thing had happened, so that had me very confused. It all sounded very odd to me, so I called up the local police station to check in on whether that was standard protocol. They looked it up and determined that there was something the officers needed to deliver to me. I suddenly remembered the court date and figured out it was probably the summons for that. So I got home, called the police station to let them know I was home, and the officers came by. They were really nice and said they just had to give me the paperwork in person on behalf of the officer who wrote me the ticket. Loudoun officers need to deliver summons on behalf of the airport officers it seems. Must be a jurisdiction thing.  The officers also let me know that it could go pretty quickly or I might be waiting at the courthouse for hours, so I cleared my schedule for that afternoon, just in case.

loudoun county courthouse in leesburg virginia

Beautiful day and a very nice courthouse.

Finally, my court date rolled around today. I went to work as usual in the morning and worked until lunch. I ate a quick meal before heading out with plenty of buffer time in case I got stuck in traffic, lost, or otherwise diverted and delayed. The drive was good and I arrived with plenty of time to spare. It took me some time to figure out where to park and which area of the building to walk to. Upon entering the courthouse, there was a security check where we were told that cell phones were not allowed except for lawyers. There were free lockers you could put them in – I had also brought my iPad to play a game while waiting, but I figured they probably wouldn’t want that either so I locked it away as well.

When I walked through the metal detector, it beeped and I looked worried. The cop monitoring it said not to worry, they were there to help and attributed my shoes for setting it off (metal in the heels I guess). I then continued in where another officer was able to take a look at my paperwork and direct me to an area with two possible courtrooms. She told me to check the monitors outside for my name so I’d know which one to enter. I skipped the windows where clerks of some sort were helping other people. The whole area was very bright and clean – very impressive. I thought it’d be a stodgy old place that smelled kind of strange and had off-yellow light, but it was airy and quite white.

At first glance, courtroom 1D only had 4 names for 1:30, so I went to 1C. That one had a list of names for 1, so of course I wasn’t on it. After standing around waiting with everyone else for awhile, I noticed the screen outside 1D change. Turns out I had only seen the last few names – the first screen had the bulk of them, which included mine for 1:30. A good 15 minutes beforehand, they opened the doors and we filed in. Nobody talked, so I wasn’t sure what to do, but I figured I was at the right place so I’d follow them in. The courtroom had a bunch of padded benches for us to sit on. Everyone chose a spot (I went for the second row, left side) and settled in. I gazed around at the room – tons of lighting, a portrait of some man on the wall closer to me, the judge’s seat with a nice big chair, tables for both sides, and a podium in the middle.

It felt like hours of sitting waiting at people came in and out. Some folks had lawyers who came to talk to them, then exited to talk to others. It was all very confusing. I just hoped I wasn’t first, since I would have no idea what to do or say. The police officers came in and took the front right area, where a jury might normally be. Most were in uniform but I think a few plainclothes people were also part of them. It was hard to tell who was a lawyer, who was an officer, and who was a normal citizen. At first I sat rather straight, but my back quickly started to hurt. The seating was soft, but the back of the benches were pretty far back and it seemed too relaxed to lean back like that. Alas, I caved and sat back after awhile. Right around 1:30, the guy who must have been the bailiff (who I thought was just another police officer attending court) had us all rise for the judge. We then took a seat as the judge quickly explained how it would go.

We had the option of 3 pleas: not guilty, guilty, or no contest. For the latter two, he would provide a sentence since you are basically admitting wrongdoing. No contest was meant that we recognize there is enough evidence against us. The majority of people before me entered “guilty with an explanation” – I guess they just wanted reduced sentences. Many of them had lawyers, so I felt rather alone. The judge was very kind and I got the impression he was looking out for our well-being. When one gentleman approached with no lawyer, explaining he tried and couldn’t find one he could afford, the judge suggested appointing one. The guy refused (he just wanted to plead guilty and get back to work), so the judge made sure he understood the ramifications before providing the paperwork for him to waive his right to an attorney. Another guy – a kid, really – seemed dumbfounded when the judge told him he’d have to get back to that case since the attorney for the Commonwealth of VA had not yet been consulted on whether to pursue jail time as part of the sentence. The judge was so concerned about him he had the kid return to the podium, look him in the eye, and confirm that he was ok before moving on.

The majority of pleas were guilty, so the judge would quickly provide a sentence. When there was proof that the person had started to fix the problem – take a driving course, apply for a VA license, or change out a car that had expired plates – the judge was more lenient and gave a lesser fine. When the person was a no-show, he would quietly let the officer know what the final fine amount was and the officer noted that in some giant binder they seem to come with. When there was representation, the case got pushed back for later. When it was more complex than a few quick minutes, the case also got pushed back. The whole process was rather efficient, getting as many cases out the door early in the process as possible. Finally, after a dozen names or so came the officer I was up against. Or so I thought. He had two no-shows, the judge issued a fine amount, the officer thanked him, and walked out. I was immensely confused. What about me? Had I somehow not shown up in the docket? Suddenly I started to question whether I was in the correct courtroom. After all, nobody had confirmed anything when we first entered.

Just as I was considering going to the back or outside to ask someone, I heard the judge call my name. Oh, and another thing I really liked about him – he greeted each defendant with “good afternoon” and asked if he was pronouncing the name correctly. With me, of course I had to correct him and I actually remembered it as he addressed me. When he asked my plea and I said “not guilty” he told me to take a seat. I got grouped into the “more complex” ones since I wanted to fight my ticket. However, the officer then spoke up and told the judge that since he did not have notes on the matter, he wanted to dismiss (or did he say withdraw?) it. I stepped back to the podium as the judge let me know that due to the officer’s request, my citation was null, so I was free to go. That was it! I thanked him and walked out pleased that I didn’t have to go through the whole explanation later.

As I picked up my electronics and exited the courthouse, it all felt surreal. Should I have gotten some sort of signature or stamp? How would I have proof that this was actually dropped? Did I really not have to do anything?! What a strange feeling. I didn’t even need the summons and ticket that I had brought with me. It really couldn’t have been simpler or tidier of a process. I walked back to my car and drove off not really believing it was so easy. I guess with a minor ticket like mine, they figure they have bigger fish to fry. People who actually committed a serious offense, like running a light, speeding waaay over the limit, driving without a license, or driving under the influence (all cases that had come before me today). So less than 25 minutes from the moment I stepped in that courtroom, I was already back in my car driving back to work. I’d say contesting my ticket was totally worth it!

365great: parking balloons

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When I first saw this fun solution for parking woes, I thought it was pretty cool. It’s such a simple idea and striking because of how simple and effective it can be. From my office, we’re able to look down and see how painful it is for cars to find a parking spot in a busy open lot. A whole lot of time is wasted circling around trying to find an open space, not knowing there’s one just two aisles over. A bird’s eye view look allows us to see all this happening, but there’s nothing we can do. It reminded me of this parking balloon solution I’d seen awhile back. Take a look at the video! It’s certainly not perfect and has its weaknesses, but I think it starts to think about an issue in a creative way that can lead to great results.

365great Day 242: public transit

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365great challenge day 242: public transitFrom our hotel in Secaucas, Panda and I were able to walk a few minutes to a bus stop and take a coach bus into NYC for $6.40 each roundtrip. It took us to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, which connected to the subway system. From there, we were a $2.75 ride away from any subway stop we desired. While I love cars and the freedom to drive wherever, that sort of convenience is hard to beat. In a city, it’s really your best option, especially if parking costs you up the wazoo. I enjoyed being able to kick back during the ride and then not having to slave over attempts to find parking when we arrived. I’m so grateful for the easy and simple to use public transit that’s available in that area! Made our lives a whole lot easier and that’s undoubtedly great.

October Favorites 2013

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collage of october 2013 favorites including free food, neal's yard remedies, geek squad, haircut, nike sneakers, condo walkthrough, heated car seats, cooking, and paper facial masks

1. free food – This month brought some wonderful opportunities for free food from Whole Foods (community event during the furlough) and Carrabbas (First Tastes event). It’s been awhile since Panda and I have gone out to get free food so it was nice to experience again. Back in college we’d get free Sprinkles cupcakes all the time and occasional other deals that various establishments were offering.

2. NYR Organics – It was a pleasant surprise to come across NYR Organics, the US version of Neal’s Yard Remedies. I’ve been enjoying the simple pleasure of misting my face with their products. The sales rep was even kind enough to send me an empty spray bottle so I could use it for the witch hazel water I had without a spray top. She totally understood that it’s much better when you can apply it that way. I love how mild and gentle these products are, which makes them oh so soothing.

3. Geek Squad – An all too-familiar scene. I think I visited Geek Squad a dozen times in the period of 3 weeks as I tried to get exactly what I wanted. I did exchanges and returns and hardware swaps and software changes with them. All throughout, they remained helpful and patient until I was finally able to get the laptop I’d been seeking, complete with SSD, touchscreen, backlit keyboard, and so much more. While I’m glad they were able to help me through it all, I sure do hope I don’t need to go see them again.

4. haircut – My hair had started to get mousy and I was growing bored of plain black so I decided to go searching for a hairdresser. I had a girl out in Manhattan Beach who I liked to go to, but that’s not very practical anymore. Luckily, the one I decided to try had a sweet lady who was sociable but not too chatty and did a great job. I plan on sticking with her so long as it doesn’t become an inconvenience once we move a bit further from that salon’s location. I’m not super picky with my hair, but it’s nice knowing what to expect. Now my hair is lighter and feels much smoother than before!

5. Nike sneakers – I’ve been wearing these to work almost every day and I love it! All I wanted was super comfy shoes with amazing support and that’s exactly what I found. It’s a nice bonus that I happen to have them in my alma mater’s colors, making them all the more beautiful. I went with Nike because a good friend from college works for them and I love supporting my friends, even if it’s something small. I seriously can’t get enough of those memory foam cushions soothing my feet like never before.

6. condo walkthrough – I really enjoy watching things in progress, so I’ve been keeping an eye on our condo. We were there when it was just a plot of land and now we’re already at the walkthrough stage! I appreciate the pre-drywall walkthrough that we got so we could see the interior of our future home before it fully takes shape. I feel a lot more involved in the process being able to see it at this point and I can’t wait to go through it again when the interior is all pretty (one more month!).

7. heated car seats – I don’t know what I’d be doing without my heated car seat and steering wheel. Every day I’m so glad I was able to get a car with those features because they have made my commute more than comfortable. The heated seat came in especially useful when I hurt my back and needed that sort of warmth to help ease the tension. I’m totally addicted to that feature now and I don’t think I could ever get another car without at least heated seats. Life is so much better when you aren’t freezing.

8. cooking – Between Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, Panda and I are getting a fair share of cooking experience! I love having a box to cook through once a month or so. It’s an activity for us to look forward to doing together and there’s a tasty reward at the end. Plus, we’re building useful skills for the future! Of course, I’m also getting spoiled by it and now I don’t want to have to go grocery shopping or to figure out what to cook. 😛

9. paper facial masks – I’ve always enjoyed masks, but I usually don’t get around to using them because of the whole routine. I inevitably get some in my hair and it takes quite some time to apply and wash them off. When I discovered paper masks where it was a serum formulation that you just let absorb into your skin, I found my holy grail. It’s much easier to get them on and then I can just peel them off whenever and not worry about washing my face. They’re also just more fun to me and I need to stock up on these!

So what are your favorites from October? Anything you found you were using/doing a lot?

September Favorites 2013

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

collage of september 2013 favorites including kia optima car, kashi hummus crisps, mascara and eyelash curler, edinburgh castle, teavana perfectea tea brewer, sherpa blanket, dunkin donuts iced tea, bathtub with bath salts, biba purse clutch purse, walking trail, and sugar scrub

1. Kia Optima – I love my new car. Every time I go to drive it, I smile a little. The dual moonroof, the heated steering wheel and seats, the keyless entry, and the maneuverability are just some of the features that make it a pleasure to drive. I love the little touches too, like when the lights turn on inside when I get close to it at night. It’s like a nice little greeting, welcoming me back to the car and making me feel safer by showing me the inside is a-okay. I’m having a lot of fun with my car and I know I’ll be enjoying it for many years to come.

2. Kashi hummus crisps – This bag shown was sent to me for free by BzzAgent. I also got smaller ones of a different flavor from Goodies and I’ve gobbled all of them up. I like how they’re so crisp and light – none of that greasiness from normal chips, but still the same kind of crunchy satisfaction. I enjoy the flavor a lot too, which is mild and makes me keep eating more. It also feels like a healthier snack in general, so there’s less of a guilt component to chomping on them.

3. mascara & eyelash curler – I started to use a bit of mascara when I started to work since I want to look presentable and not like I just rolled out of bed. It’s been fun to do a little more than wash my face and put on lotion or BB cream. At first I was trying the Pixi mascara from the August Ipsy bag, but it’d leave me with darker under-eyes by the end of the day. I needed something that could withstand the heavy rubbing I tend to do without realizing. I’m used to touching my face and not worrying about stuff coming off or getting things dirty, so using makeup is not my forte. It’ll usually end up smeared all over the place over the course of the day, which is no bueno. Then came the September Ipsy bag, which had an It’s So Big mascara that I tested and found to be much better! It stuck to my eyelashes like it grew there naturally so now I don’t have to remember to not touch my eyes.

4. UK trip – Our trip abroad was so much fun! Pictured here is Edinburgh Castle, one of the many places we checked out in the four cities we visited on our 10-day vacation. Panda and I both liked various aspects of what we saw, experienced, tasted, and bought. I’m so glad we were able to do that trip and I look forward to all the places we’ll go in the future. For me, it was great to go back to the UK after 5 or 6 years, and for Panda, it was fascinating to leave the country for the first time. I’m glad we got to do it together and I know we’ll be returning.

5. Perfectea brewer – At the office are these two PerfecTea brewers from Teavana. They really do brew a perfect cup/mug of tea and I love using them! It’s always so cold in the office that I am constantly drinking tea – something like 8 mugs a day. That excludes any soda or water I might have around lunch time, so you can imagine how much I’m chugging all the time. It’s so easy to brew my tea with this contraption and I never have to worry about tea leaves getting in the way. Amazing.

6. sherpa blanket – I’ve snuggled up in this blanket every night and enjoyed the coziness oh so much. It’s instantly warm and soothing. In fact, it’s so good at putting me to sleep that I must beware if I crawl in the covers after a shower – I’m sure to fall right to sleep! I really wish I could bring this to work to curl up in, but would be a bit too much. Plus, if I was that snug I might not get much work done. I’m trying to convince Panda to get one more for us (me) to use. Maybe when we move to the new place.

7. Dunkin Donuts free drink Mondays – Starting 9/9 through 10/14, Dunkin Donuts in the metro DC area are offering a free iced tea or coffee drink! I’ve taken advantage of this every Monday that I’ve been working so far and I’m sad that there’s only one more left. I always get the peach iced tea, no ice, half sweet. Yum. Sometimes if they still have powered Munchkins or chocolate glazed ones, I’ll get some, but lately I’ve gone after work and by 7 pm they’re out of most Munchkins.

8. baths – It’s been years since I took a bath, but since I’ve gotten so much bath stuff in boxes over the past couple of months, I decided I would start using them. I liked it so much that I’m doing one bath a week now. It’s such a wonderful way to relax, clear your mind, take care of your body, and enjoy some peace. Each time I try a different bath salt, bubble bath, or bath soak. It’s been a ton of fun and my skin is loving the extra attention!

9. Biba purse – I got this cool purse in the UK on our trip and it’s been my daily bag ever since. I love the design and the quality of it. I do wish it had hooks for a shoulder strap, so I might try modifying it since I happen to have a strap that matches it pretty well. I don’t want to ruin it though, so we’ll have to see. For now I just hold it between my arm and body and for the most part it’s not inconvenient.

10. walking to lunch – The majority of lunches at work have involved us walking to the Reston Town Center and choosing whatever sounded good at the time. I like that it gets us moving and out in the fresh air for at least half an hour a day. Certainly better than driving somewhere, though I am going to start wanting some more options after a few weeks of that selection. Whenever someone wants to go get Starbucks or a dessert, I try to go so I can stretch my legs and catch up with them. Now that the weather’s cooling, it might not happen as much.

11. sugar scrub – Related to the bath thing, I’ve been using the sugar scrub that I made with Brandy of MommySplurge and it’s fabulous. After soaking in a bath, I rub it in until the sugar granules melt and I’m left with super-soft skin enveloped in a layer of coconut oil. I don’t even need to lotion after drying off! I’m all about keeping my routine as simple as possible – while I love trying products I generally am too rushed to go through a 273521-step skincare routine. So one product that will exfoliate and hydrate my skin in one fell swoop gets an A+ in my books.

365great Day 211: heating

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365great day 211: heatingWe’ve had quite a few wet days this week and a few more to get through before the skies clear. Temperatures have fallen and I find myself very happy I have heated seats and steering wheel in my car. It’s allowed me to thaw out much faster as I start my drive to work and I know it’s going to be fantastic come winter. It’s so satisfying to have heat exude from the steering wheel and seat rather than just waiting for the hot air to bring up the cabin temperature. I love getting all toasty, whether it’s using special heating equipment like those or things like heating fans, electric blankets, and heated pads. There’s nothing better than being dry and warm in cold weather; it feels so great!

8 tips for buying a new car

laelene Posted in how to guides,Tags: , , , ,

Alright, I started to mention some things soon after I got my Kia, but I wanted to put together a more cohesive list of recommendations if you’re in the market to buy a car. One of these days I’ll discuss the decision to lease versus purchase, but for now if you know you want to buy, here are some things that may help:

8 tips for buying a new car graphic

1. Do your research

This is probably a given, but just in case, I’m including it. Spend time using the various resources online to find out which models you might want and once you have it narrowed down, go for some test drives. Between getting the features you want and having a car that feels good for your driving preferences, you can probably narrow it down. Then you can really hone in on what price you could get it at, using sites like Kelley Blue Book. Your goal is to get at or below the Fair Purchase Price.

2. Take your time

Salespeople will forever be trying to get you to jump on offers pronto, since they want to get that sale in the bag. If they don’t get you now, who knows what might happen – they may never get you as a customer. Don’t let them pressure you into deals you’re not comfortable with. The best way to ensure you’re prepared for this brings me to my next point…

3. Time your purchase

First of all, try to give yourself 2-3 weeks leeway from when you start looking to when you’d actually want/need the car. That way you aren’t in a rush and can go back to dealerships over the course of a few weekends (assuming you can’t make it on weekdays). Secondly, if you know way ahead of time you’ll be getting a car down the road, try to do it as the current year’s models are being phased out and the next year’s are coming in. Dealerships will be much more willing to give you deals on the models that are on their way out. Third, start looking towards the beginning of a month. Many promotions generally end at the end of a month, so this will give you time to browse and still take advantage of offers.

4. Take advantage of promotional offers

There are generally a variety of promotions going on at any given time, so be sure to ask about those and find which ones you qualify for. Even if you don’t, if someone in your family does and is willing to be a co-signer, that’s a great way to save hundreds if not a couple thousand right off the bat. I did this with Panda, who qualified for two promos (recent grad and competitive vehicle). If it was just me… well, I would have had to pay another $1400.

5. Try multiple dealerships

If you live/work within a reasonable distance of multiple dealerships, try visiting them all. I ended up purchasing from the second dealership I went to because it gave me a better vibe and my salesperson seemed to really want to give me a good experience. Plus, you can use it as a way to find a better deal by comparing the different offers you get at each. If you plan on getting all future maintenance with your dealership, you might want to go to the closest one, but if you’re the type to take your car to a smaller local shop, then a further dealer won’t make much difference (and if their service or price is better, it could be worth it).

6. Negotiate the overall rate

Now I’m not sure if all dealers do this, but since all I cared about was the total price I’d pay, including all taxes and fees, the finance guy quoted me a number and he stuck to it. That way, there are no surprises. So if you can, try to get them to commit to the number with everything factored in. After all, what you get for the car may be what you wanted, but then with the freight charge, processing fee, taxes, and who knows what else, you may end up paying thousands more than you anticipated. Watch out for those extra charges and try to negotiate the absolute max that you’d pay all-inclusive.

7. Ask for freebies

A nice way to get some small things you may have wanted buy didn’t want to buy is to use that for bargaining in your negotiation. If they’re at a price you like, try saying you’d sign the paperwork now if they threw in a charging cable, or upgraded floor mats, or what have you. Then you save yourself a few meals’ worth while feeling great about the fun bonuses you got.

8. Get financing with 0% interest

If you can pay for your car over the course of 5 years without incurring a higher price, why not? It frees you up to do other things with your money. Of course, the sales price might be higher if you get this, but it’s most likely you’ll save in the long run compared to if you got a 1.9% or whatever the going rate is now. Make sure to calculate that and know whether it’s worth it. This is assuming you need financing… if you can just pay it upfront then more power to you.

What else would you advise someone on the market for a new car? Have you gotten a great deal before?

365great Day 184: backup cameras

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365great challenge day 184: backup camerasOne feature of my car that I find really useful is the backup camera. It’s hard to gauge how much room you have left when you’re in reverse trying to back out of somewhere. This is what makes parallel parking such a challenging task for many, since you want to fit into a small area but you don’t always know how close you are to the curb or the cars next to you. I’m going to get totally spoiled by this feature though I’ll still practice trying to see through the back of the car so I don’t get too rusty at doing it manually. I might even try backing up into spots! That’s really popular in some countries (like Singapore) but not as much in the US. I’m thinking about giving it a shot since my head-in parking has been rather crooked with this car so the opposite approach might work out well for me. Whatever I decide to do, I have my trusty backup camera to help me drive more accurately in reverse. So useful it’s great.

365great Day 156: Kia

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365great challenge day 156: kiaI just got my Kia today so of course I had to feature them. I’ve thought about getting a Kia ever since I test drove an Optima at the LA Auto Show three years ago. When it came time to think about getting a car this month, of course the first thing I did was go to a Kia dealer. I test drove the Optima again and still liked it a lot. Plus, with the premium package it has practically everything I wanted in my next vehicle: moonroof (actually a dual one!), heated seats, backup camera, USB port, auxiliary port, Bluetooth, voice activation, power windows & seats, digital compass, etc. AND it has other cool features I didn’t even think of, like a great sound system, keyless entry, start engine button, not just heated but cooling seats, a chilled glove box, a tire kit in lieu of a spare tire, power folding side mirrors, and so much more. I’ll go into more details about that in a future post. Suffice to say that I am very pleased with my luxurious vehicle. I love how it handles and it has a fantastic turning radius. So much about it is just plain great.

Nuances of car shopping

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,

silver kia optima ex front viewYippee! I am now the proud new owner of a Kia Optima EX. It has been quite the path to getting it, with a lot of ups and downs (ups when I saw what I could get in it and downs when I saw how much all of it would cost…). The ultimate price I’m paying is higher than I had hoped for, but for all the features I still think I’m getting a deal. I thought I’d spend more time looking than I did, but that seems to be a trend… with the condo, with ring shopping, and now with the car. It seems like once I start looking, I find what I want pretty quickly and then I pounce! I can’t believe I’m driving off with this vehicle already. It still doesn’t feel real! This is a car I expect to keep for a long time and I really like it. I’ll have to introduce you later – for now, I wanted to just share some of my experience and hopefully help you avoid some of the mistakes I made.

Now I think what I did do right is not letting them rush me too much and making sure to do comparison shopping and check the Blue Book. Admittedly, I wasn’t sure how to understand the numbers KBB provided, since the Fair Market Value was lower than the Dealer Invoice (and shouldn’t the price people are buying at be higher than what it costs the dealer?). I believe the difference is due to the rebates Kia offers, which can bring down the price a good $1000-2000. So, I compared what I was getting to that number and I feel pretty comfortable with it.

One of the mistakes I did make was not getting the complete price quote with all fees, taxes, etc. I thought the price they quoted me included the freight charge of $775, but it didn’t. They also charge a processing fee in addition to the taxes and some other small charge I’ve forgotten. I estimated all that to be about $2000 but it ended up being $2500, putting me over my ideal budget. If what’s most important to you is the overall price of the vehicle, then $500 can be a big deal. If all you care about is your monthly payment, maybe the extra $8.33 a month (for a 60-month lease) doesn’t seem as bad. It all depends on what’s important to you.

Another thing I should have thought through more carefully was whether I’d buy or lease. Based on the price differential for monthly payments, it’d be just under 6 and a half years before I’d break even. So basically, if I was planning on keeping the car for 7 or more years it’d be best to buy, but if I didn’t want to keep it that long then I might be better off leasing. I do plan on keeping this vehicle for a long time, but I had to spend some time at the dealership working out the numbers to make sure I was making the right choice. Don’t allow room for self-doubt! Make sure you calculate these numbers ahead of time so you are completely comfortable with your decision.

Finally, while I did not let them rush me the way they were trying, I still did move faster than I probably should have. I’d recommend allotting at least half the day for the back and forth and waiting around time. I sort of got into signing paperwork too fast and didn’t call up my mom until I had a question. At that point, she started questioning some of the prices I was paying but I had already agreed to them. I mean, as long as I’m happy with the price, that’s what matters, right? I really should have called her before I signed anything, just to work out any kinks and see if she had recommendations. Oh well!

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